How Okowa reduced Delta’s debt to N228.3Bn; budgets N376Bn for 2019

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Delta State Government on Wednesday said it has reduced the debt inherited from the  Emmanuel Uduaghan- led administration to about N228,, 328,360,009 billion.

The state governor, Ifeanyi OKowa, made the disclosure during the presentation of the 2019 budget estimates of N376Bn to the State House of Assembly n Wednesday in Asaba.

Okowa said in his inaugural address on assumption of office as governor of the state in 2015 inherited revenue board and debts to commercial banks totaling N98.2Bn (principal sum) and outstanding contractual obligations of N538.6Bn.

According to him, Mr Speaker, you will recall that in my inaugural address to this honourable house I disclosed that the Government was beset with a Revenue Bond and indebtedness to commercial banks totalling N98.62bn (Principal sum), while outstanding contractual obligations was N538.6Bn. I am happy to announce to you that this exposure has been significantly reduced to about N228.3Bn.

He said the state government was able to achieve the feat through revalidation, repudiation, reconciliation and value for money exercise, and promised to remain committed to sustaining the exercise through prudent awards of contracts and payment of same to key and significant projects.

The governor who commended members of the State House of Assembly for their cooperation and support in reducing the deficit, noted that the synergy between legislature and the executive arm of Government has been “nothing short of superlative”.

He noted that the sense of mission and unity of purpose are what governments needed to engender long-term economic development, social harmony, political stability, and general well-being of citizenry.

He also appreciated the Civil Service Establishment, the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and all workers’ unions and associations for their understanding and support.

In reviewing the 2018 budget performance from January to June, the governor said the state government generated N150.9 billion representing a performance of 97.7 percent over the expected proportionate revenue receipts of N154.4billion 

He said out of the amount, the sum of   N108.6bn was received as Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account representing  122.1 percent performance over the proportionate estimate of N89.0billion. 

He also added that the sum of N6.4 billion was recorded as receipts from Value Added Tax (VAT) out of the proportionate projected estimates of N5.4 billion representing a budget performance of 118.8 percent for the period under review, the sum of N31.2 billion recorded as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) out of the proportionate projected revenue of N35.8 billion representing a budget performance of 87.3 percent in the first half of the year.

OKowa attributed some of the factors responsible for the budget good performance to include better public engagement, expanded tax payers’ base, and strict enforcement measures. 

The governor explained that the expenditure profile of N66.5 billion was spent for recurrent items between January and June as against a proportionate approved budget of N73.7 billion representing a budget performance of 90.4 percent.

On capital expenditure, the governor said  of the approved budget of N161.6 billion in the period under review the sum of N38.6 billion was spent between January and June as against the proportionate budget figure of N80.8 billion representing  a performance of 47.8 percent.

He said the budget performance was not however, the true reflection of the level of jobs accomplished/completed within the comparable period, which stands at about 50 percent.